Exhibition | Francisco Toledo : Fire and Earth | Contemporary Art at Latin American Masters | Santa Monica | Art Week

Francisco Toledo : Fire and Earth

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Saturday, 23 November 2019 to Saturday, 18 January 2020
Saturday, 23 November 2019 - 5:00pm

Latin American Masters presents Fire and Earth, a solo exhibition of Francisco Toledo's ceramics. Best known as a painter and printmaker, Toledo's artistic production from the beginning had extremely broad dimensions. Toledo, who died in 2019, was a gifted sculptor and ceramicist, whose works in these mediums can be compared favorably with the finest in the Western tradition.

The exhibition includes thirty-one ceramics from the estate of the artist. Among the highlights are two sculptures of dogs, each seated upright and surrounded by bones. Toledo's dogs evoke Mexico's rich zoomorphic culture, in particular, the dog effigies of Colima and Veracruz. Here, Toledo transforms ancient iconography into contemporary works that address the consequences of violence and over-consumption.

There are wonderful examples of Toledo's self-portraits in the exhibition. Pupa, 2015, features Toledo, replete with antennae, emerging from a cocoon. Slave Ship, 2015, depicts Toledo manacled and chained to a ship stacked with human cargo. Recently, Toledo discovered that his genealogy was both indigenous Zapotec and African, a fact that both pleased and encouraged him to further explore the hidden history of Africans in Mexico.

Toledo was a lifelong activist. In 2014, when forty-three students disappeared in Guerrero, Mexico, Toledo felt compelled to make the ceramics exhibition, Duelo (Mourning), at the Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City. Fire and Earth includes selected works from Toledo's acclaimed MAM exhibition, including: Death Grabs a Man, 2015, a masterful example of expressionism in three-dimensional form. Also important are two life-size church bells: one decorated with gold, the other covered in snakes. Both bells resonate with an uncanny silence, as if artifacts of lost communal voice.

Toledo's bestiary is well represented throughout the exhibition, including: toads, bats, elephants, birds, and various denizens of the insect world. Whether mining history and culture for new meanings, or discovering new and surprising aesthetic conjunctions, Francisco Toledo's ceramics remain fully engaged with his elemental materials: fire and earth.

For more information, please contact Stephanie Mercado at (310) 829-4455 or email info@latinamericanmasters.com. 

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(Mexico, 1940-2019)

Francisco Toledo was an artist of prodigious gifts: a painter, printmaker, sculptor, and ceramicist.  Toledo’s art combines diverse materials and practices. A bronze sculpture is painted and gold-leafed, a painting incised, a drawing on wood, partially erased, carved and in-painted. Toledo’s bristles with formal invention and often includes the use of non-traditional supports such as mica, fossil, and turtle shell. More than a formal enlivening, Toledo’s combination of diverse materials and art making practices reflects a world-view unbounded by category or hierarchy. Toledo was also a noted activist and humanitarian.

310 829 4455

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2525 Michigan Avenue

Suite E2

Santa Monica, CA 90404

Other shows from Latin American Masters

Francisco Toledo : Fire and Earth
11/23/2019 to 01/18/2020
Rufino Tamayo & Francisco Toledo - Graphic Vision
09/08/2018 to 10/26/2018
30th Anniversary Exhibition
06/17/2017 to 07/08/2017


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